Will the PUMA Purr for Seattle Car Buyers?

Category: News. Written by Cameron Wong 

Imagine what Seattle parking lots and roads will look like once some of these cheap and efficient concept cars start rolling off of assembly lines. They’re very much the “value meal” of the car industry, just the basics and a whole lot smaller. One things for certain, bulk shopping at Costco would become virtually impossible.

Recently General Motors and Segway released the Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility project, P.U.M.A for short. It’s a mix between R2-D2 and a pimped out hand truck than an actual car. However in you live in a city, the two seat, two wheeled all electric vehicle would reduce on emissions and congestion significantly.

Another unique and creative feature is the GPS technology. Larry Burns, the Vice President of GM told the Associated Press,the vehicles would also be part of a communications network that through the use of transponder and GPS technology would allow them to drive themselves. The vehicles would automatically avoid obstacles such as pedestrians and other cars and therefore never crash”, he said.

Going a maximum speed of 35 miles per hour, in theory, the PUMA, wouldn’t need airbags or seat belts.“If Hummer took GM to the large vehicle extreme,” said Burns. “Then the PUMA takes GM to the other.”

That extreme would be small. The PUMA prototype reportedly weighs in at just 300 pounds, and would get up to 35 hours on one charge of the lithium-ion battery. The GM-Segway collaboration is ambitious and bold. But with GM relying on billions of dollars in Federal aid just to stay afloat; the PUMA could represent a big step in the automakers’ reinvention of itself.

So how much would the PUMA cost Seattle car buyers? GM has yet to announce a base price for the PUMA. However the automaker promises that once you take into consideration purchase price, insurance, maintenance, and fuel, it would be a fraction of that compared to a standard sized vehicle.

While it may be a couple a years from actually hitting Seattle roads, one question will undoubtedly come up about the pint-sized PUMA; does it have enough room to fit my Venti sized coffee cup?

See the PUMA roll at Segway.com

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